Sidewalk cafe manners | School District’s gap: $282m | Frankford fights recovery house | South Street West’s cool | Amtrak’s NE high-speed vision

Byko wants sidewalk cafes to have “good manners” and not hog the city’s sidewalks. The Streets Department expects complaints about sidewalk encroachments to roll in via 3-1-1, and although the department performs two “sweeps” per year there aren’t enough staffers to do café enforcement. So what are the rules for sidewalk encroachments? If sidewalks are less than 13 feet wide, there must be 5 feet clear for pedestrians. If sidewalks are greater than 13 feet wide, half of their width must be clear.

The School District’s 2012-2013 budget deficit has gone up from $218 million to $282 million. The Inquirer’s Kristen A. Graham explains why that increase alarms City Controller Alan Butkovitz (ever a critic of the School District’s management) and just how much the budget hangs on improved property-tax collection. The School District is on track to finish this school year with a $21 million gap.

Instead of sticking Frankford with yet another recovery house, Treatment Alternatives will convert a large brick house at 4834 Penn Street to a boarding house for individuals with physical and mental disabilities, reports the Daily News. Frankford and Northwood residents protested the conversion to a recovery facility, in part because the neighborhood is already saturated with similar properties and because there was no prior community outreach because property’s zoning did permitted the new use by right.

The Inquirer checked in on South Street West, calling it “one of the city’s hottest strips of coolness.” As most folks in Graduate Hospital/Southwest Center City/South by Schuylkill/South Street West can tell you: housing prices are up, new businesses are opening their doors, and long-vacant properties are being developed at a rapid clip. Now if only the Royal Theater could be brought back from the brink.

By 2030 Amtrak envisions the trip between Philly and New York to take 37-minutes, the Inquirer reports. To create truly high-speed rail service, Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor will require $151 billion in upgrades, like track improvements and new bridges and tunnels. Of course, Amtrak isn’t currently flush with cash and the federal government would have to come up with half of the Northeast Corridor upgrades.

The Buzz is Eyes on the Street’s morning news digest. Have a tip? Send it along.

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